Historian: The standard "QWERTY" configuration of the keys on typewriters and computer keyboards was originally desig...

Thomas on March 26, 2016

Looking for the clarification of answer E.

I sorry but I am a little bit confused about the logic here and still cannot get the point why E is right. As the stem says, that the typewriter would jam results in the limit and the design of QWERTY, but is it reasonable to conclude that if there were no jamming, such as typing by computers, then there would not be any limit? Because maybe it is kind of similar to the situation that "if A then B" but we cannot conclude that "if not A then not B". Hope you can clarify the logic here. Thank you so much!

1 Reply

Mehran on March 27, 2016

@Thomas no problem. Let's take a closer look.

The stimulus tells us the following:

"The standard 'QWERTY' configuration of the keys on typewriters and computer keyboards was originally designed to be awkward and limit typing speed. The was because early typewriters would jam frequently if adjacent keys were struck in quick succession."

First, notice that this is a "most strongly supported" question stem as opposed to "must be true" but for our purposes we are going to treat these questions just like a Must Be True question. "Most strongly supported" is used by the creators of the exam to guard against off-the-wall objections.

(E) states, "If the keyboard had been designed for computers, then it would not have been designed to limit typing speed."

This is directly supported by the pertinent parts of the stimulus we set forth above. Computers do not have an issue of jamming if adjacent keys are struck in quick succession so there would have been no reason to design the keyboard to be awkward and limit typing speed.

You are correct that you could probably make some off the wall objection here regarding why you would also want to limit typing speed if designing a keyboard for a computer (e.g. typing too fast could cause early computers to over-heat).

However, for our purposes (E) is definitely most strongly supported and none of the other answer choices even come close.

Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions.